When the Mister and I decided we wanted to be better prepared to take care of ourselves (especially if the SHTF), we sat down and made a list of disasters and other events that are realistic for our area. Earthquakes, forest fires, and tsunamis all made the list. While these natural disasters are possible, the probability is rather low for our area.
Even being on the “Ring of Fire,” we don’t experience many earthquakes and there are little islands all around us that would take the brunt of most tsunamis. There would still be danger but it is so large and out of our control that the most you can do is have a cache of supplies and a plan. We get 13 feet of rain where we live which makes forest fires possible but still unlikely. The biggest threat as I see it for our area is a break in the supply chain. No barges coming in or out.
I wrote an article about the Top 5 Reasons I Prepare and #2 on that list was a break in the supply chain. Every week, I watch barges going back and forth on the water ways bringing supplies in and out of the area. We rely on these barges for at least 70% of our supplies from toilet paper to juice mixes; pencils and paper to PVC pipe. 70% is likely a low number but I do know some foods are flown in or mailed in (think prescription medicine). I made a comment to my husband about how awful it would be if even one barge didn’t make it in, let alone 2 weeks or more! I had this concern hammered home some time later when I went to our local Wal-Mart only to find that there was no toilet paper to be bought. From the cheapest 1 ply all the way up to the most expensive ‘luxury’ brands; they were sold OUT. I asked a worker I knew about it and was told that their container with the toilet paper did not make the barge and people started freaking out and buying up all they could. It took them 3 weeks to get back on their regular stock schedule.
This reinforced to me the absolute reliance we have on our supply chain and that any hiccup can make a huge ripple effect. To finish the little TP story here, I went to the other grocery stores and the shelves were bare in half of them. This little event was non-life threatening and yet it caused people to panic and buy up more than they normally would, which left an overall shortage. It is like a self-feeding beast. I ended up having to buy some higher end brand name since that was all that was left on the shelf and I didn’t want to risk being out, just like other people.
I do not overly worry about some catastrophic event happening where I live. It is not like we are some political or military epicenter. There is no oil to be had here and we are not a strategic location. I worry more about the links in the chain that bring supplies to us. Sometimes I look around at the faces of people I grew up seeing my whole life on the island and wonder if they ever think or consider how incredibly vulnerable we are here. A storm that takes out some major bridge or hub in the midwest can affect us here in rural Alaska in ways we cannot imagine!
A volcanic eruption in Yellowstone National Park will assuredly stop all supplies and traffic moving to us. Any supplies earmarked for the Southeast communities will not make it if it is going through areas where the supplies are also needed. It would take military involvement and even then, comparing the needs of an island with a population of 14,000 versus a large city with half a million….you get the idea. Those supplies will not make it here.
So few people know how to make food from the most basic of ingredients.
For us, we decided this was the most logical and probable ‘disaster scenario’ that we should ‘prep’ for. Since we do not have money to just go out and buy all kinds of stuff, we decided to work on our skill sets to make ourselves more self-reliant. The internet is chocked full of information from people just like us – your average Joe Examples of this would be:
- Gardening and learning to harvest seeds for the next year
- Food preservation (canning, smoking, dehydrating, etc)
- Reloading ammo, proper gun security, practicing marksmanship
- Shelter and fire building in adverse conditions
- Learn edible plants in the area and practice foraging and cooking with them
- Learn to make many items from scratch such as crackers, vinegar, laundry soap, etc.
- Learn about animal husbandry and raising animals for food
- Practice new skills learned until proficient
- Practice even more!
I cannot stress the importance of practicing new skills enough. You can read about building a cooking fire until your eyes cross but unless you actually practice it, you only have a theory and book knowledge. No actual skill level in that activity will be gained until you practice it and make it your own.
If you have been following me for a while, you will know that we do have some stuff squirreled away. Rice, beans, and wheat berries are some of the things we set back. We do not store cans of food because they are too expensive and take up an incredible amount of space. The things I have focused on and am slowly building up are the whole, raw foods that can be processed and made into meals. So few people know how to make food from the most basic of ingredients and I used to be one of them. Not many people can take wheat berries and make crackers from them. They don’t know how to make things like macaroni and cheese unless it comes from a box. When it comes to food, our focus is to get the basics and learn how to use them to make tasty (and much healthier) meals which will be critical should the S ever HTF.
So what is YOUR threat? What things are logical and realistic to actually happen in your area? Can you do things to help you and your family make it through? Check out some amazing blogs and how they attack their biggest threats to being more prepared and more self-reliant!